Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Nutr. 2002 Jun;21(3):199-206.

Epidural anaesthesia and analgesia - effects on surgical stress responses and implications for postoperative nutrition.

Author information

Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Hvidovre University Hospital, Denmark.



Surgical injury leads to an endocrine-metabolic and inflammatory response with protein catabolism, increased cardiovascular demands, impaired pulmonary function and paralytic ileus, the most important release mechanisms being afferent neural stimuli and inflammatory mediators.


Epidural local anaesthetic blockade of afferent stimuli reduces endocrine metabolic responses, and improve postoperative catabolism. Furthermore, dynamic pain relief is achieved with improved pulmonary function and a pronounced reduction of postoperative ileus, thereby providing optimal conditions for improved mobilization and oral nutrition, and preservation of body composition and muscle function. Studies integrating continuous epidural local anaesthetics with enforced early nutrition and mobilization uniformly suggest an improved recovery, decreased hospital stay and convalescence.


Epidural local anaesthetics should be included in a multi-modal rehabilitation programme after major surgical procedures in order to facilitate oral nutrition, improve recovery and reduce morbidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center